27 May 2013

Nigeria: FG Seeks Private Partnership in Railways Development

Lagos — Managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Engr. Seyio Sijuwade, has said the corporation will partner private investors on a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement to move the sub-sector forward.

Sijuwade said this at a press conference in Lagos. He said PPP has become necessary because of the huge investments needed in the railway sector which government cannot afford.

He however noted that the investments by private concerns will be financially rewarding to the investors.

"We have reached a point which is now so obvious that government alone, in view of all the constraints we have, most importantly funding, cannot just take full course of where we need to be in terms of what it takes. For me, we are ripe often for that and over the next few months, you are going to see quite a lot of private sector participation in moving NRC forward," he noted.

According to him, the NRC "wants to make the rail system the most effective means of transportation."

Engr. Sijuwade noted that the NRC has finalized the presentation of the Outline Business Concept (OBC) on the completed Western Line (from Lagos-Kano) and the Eastern Line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri that is still being rehabilitated, adding that a transaction advisor will soon be named on both critical lines.

He also said the Railway Bill to amend the existing Act has been approved by the National Council on Privatization and would soon be sent to the National Assembly for consideration. The Bill if passed into law hopes to revolutionised the Nigerian railway space as private investors will have access to invest in the Nigerian railway. The current Railway act, enacted in the 50s makes private investments in the sector nearly impossible.

The NRC boss said the Lagos-Kano line currently moves in excess of 16,000 passengers weekly.

The Lagos-Kano-Lagos train service which moves once per day, moves about 2,500 passengers per week; while the Lagos-Ilorin-Ilorin train service which travels three train services per week moves about 6,200 passengers per week.

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